Cowboys for Trump co-founder charged with campaign violation

SANTA FE, NM (AP) — An elected official in New Mexico was charged Friday with a misdemeanor campaign finance violation for refusing to register his political group Cowboys for Trump, the attorney general announced. State.

Couy Griffin, a Republican commissioner from Tularosa County in southern New Mexico, has been battling state election regulators for more than a year over whether to register the group as a political committee. Griffin expressed concern that registration could lead to further disclosure requirements regarding contributions and expenses, and in 2020 sued the New Mexico Secretary of State after she insisted the group register.

Last month, a federal appeals court rejected his arguments, upholding a lower court’s ruling that the reporting requirement is valid. Attorney General Hector Balderas said Friday that Griffin is not complying with court orders to register the group.

“We live in a nation that ensures that no elected official is above the law,” Balderas, a Democrat, said in a statement. “Citizens have a right to expect transparency in reporting and disclosure from all elected officials.”

Griffin formed a rodeo acquaintance group in 2019 in the promotional group called Cowboys for Trump which held horseback parades to spread President Donald Trump’s conservative message on gun rights, immigration controls and restrictions on abortion.

Griffin told The Associated Press Friday night that he plans to challenge the reporting requirement again, this time with Trump attorney Sidney Powell, and expects to find success with lessons learned. of his unsuccessful appeal.

“I’m confident we’ll get through this and when we do, it’ll be a big win,” Griffin said.

Separately, Griffin will go on trial next week in Washington for a criminal offense during the January 6 uprising at the United States Capitol, where he appeared on an outdoor terrace and attempted to lead the crowd in prayer.

Griffin denies allegations that he knowingly entered barricaded areas of the Capitol with intent to disrupt government as Congress considered the 2020 Electoral College results, though he openly attributed unsubstantiated allegations of fraud in the 2020 elections.

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